By Tom Rhodes, 4/20/2015
Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham of the Washington post lament your tax dollars being given to the rich. They claim the rich get handouts just like the poor and list 10 of them. They are sick people. The entire premise is that all of the money anybody earns or saves is the governments, and we should be grateful for that portion of what you earn that you are allowed to keep, people keeping what they earn is the same as the government giving it to them.
Does the list of handouts to the rich include direct subsidies for ethanol? Does the list of handouts to the rich include direct subsidies for “geen” energy? Does the list of handouts to the rich include direct subsidies for training your employees? Does the list of handouts to the rich include direct subsidies for agribusiness? Does the list of handouts to the Wall Street Fat Cats include TARP bailouts? The answer is no, no, no, no, no, and no.
The list from the Washington post doesn’t include a single subsidy, or payment of the government to the rich. There are a gazillion examples of the government giving your money to the rich, but none of these examples show up on Badger and Ingraham’s list of where the riche “receive benefits from government.” Their list exclusively includes people being allowed to keep their own money. Let’s examine their list:
1. The mortgage interest deduction for big houses and second homes. - Just like your home or condo, any place you can live that you have mortgaged, the interest is tax deductable. The rich have bigger mortgages and thus pay more interest and have bigger deductions, but no different than anybody else. The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as SNAP benefits to the poor.
2. The yacht tax deduction. - not really a deduction for the yacht, if the yacht is big enough to live on, and is mortgaged, the interest from the mortgage like any other living space is tax deductible. The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as WIC benefits to the poor.
3. Rental property. - How is allowing the deduction the costs associated with maintaining some rental property; repairs, mortgage, HOA fees, advertising to get renters, property taxes etc. and only being taxed on the net profits you earn from renting out your property the same as the government giving you a direct cash benefit? The Washing Post’s opinion is that if you get money from a rental, all that money, regardless of the associated expenses associated should be subject to confiscation. The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as any benefits to the poor.
4. Fancy business meals. - Take a potential client to dinner and you get to deduct half the cost from your taxable income, doesn’t matter if it’s McDonalds or Burn’s Steakhouse. The fact is it’s a business expense. The government doesn’t pay a single business to take clients or employees out for a meal and discuss business. Somehow not taxing half of those expenses they are calling a handout. Nobody’s tax dollars were sent to any business to wine and dine others. The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as any benefits to the poor.
5. The capital gains tax rate. - basically the Post is saying, not paying double taxes is considered a handout. The “preferential” rate in the current system for capital gains is more accurately saying the second tax on your money is less than the rate it was originally taxed at. Even if you believe that savings and investments should be double taxed, it is still not a government handout. The government doesn’t give, the person whose savings earned some additional amount, any money. Clearly this is not the same as any benefits to the poor.
6. The estate tax. - Mom and Dad save and invest, paying all appropriate taxes as they do so, any excess that is in their property or savings has already been taxed, sometimes two or three times. Somehow Badger and Ingraham are saying that not taking more of Mom and Dad’s property after they die is the same as the government LIHEAP program, directly paying for a poor persons heating bill. This is not a handout to the rich, the money’s been taxed already excessively and the government isn’t actually giving the inheritors a dime. The government is just not taking as much of it as the Post thinks they should. Clearly the Estate Tax is not the same as any benefits to the poor.
7. Gambling loss deductions. - This one is really stupid, the government taxes you total winnings from gambling just like any other income. Unlike other ways of earning money, if you gamble and you lose more than you win, you cannot deduct your losses from your income. For some reason the Washington Post’s opinion is that if you gamble, all you winnings should be taxed, even if you are a loser overall, not just the amount you won over the amount you lost. Again they think the expenses associated with any gross earnings, rental, gambling, business expenses, should not be deductable. But . . . even if you think all winnings should be taxed, too bad for you if you lose, not taking money from someone (taxing) is not the same as taking money from somebody else and giving it to that someone. The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as any benefits to the poor.
8. The Social Security earnings limit. - Social Security was sold and is still sold to the American people as a retirement insurance package with top limits on what it will pay out. Because it is limited as to what it will pay out, it also limits what you must pay in. Again the idea is that not taking money in excess of what is due is somehow equal to the government giving a handout. The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as any benefits to the poor.
9. Retirement plans. - Badger and Ingraham’s claim that not taxing money saved for retirement until it is actually used is a subsidy is absurd. IRA’s 401K’s etc. are incentives to get people to save, so that they are less of a burden on society in their old age. The money is taxed, just at a later date. They are lamenting the fact that responsible people are not taxed twice. All these retirement programs do is delay when the government extracts its pound of flesh. Somehow they equate the fact that the rich save more for retirement than the poor as a subsidy. How is not taking the savings of people who responsibly plan for their old age the same as giving them a handout? Again the government isn’t giving the rich a dime, just delaying when they take the money. Clearly not the same as any direct benefit to the poor
10. Tax prep. - I don’t get this one, the government understands that they have made doing your own taxes so convoluted that without a professional it’s nearly impossible for the average person to do their own taxes. Thus they rightly allow you to deduct the costs associated with doing your taxes from your gross income, an expense to business and individual alike the government has created. So the income wasted on a government required expense is not taxable. The idea is that not paying taxes on the money spent doing taxes is a handout. Because the rich spend more on tax prep the Washington Post believes that it’s the equal to SSI (direct subsidies to the blind and disabled). The government isn't giving money, just not taking it, clearly not the same as any benefits to the poor.
In summary the idea is that the government has the right to all the money everybody earns, rich or poor, and that the state allows people to keep a portion of what they earn, and redistributes the rest as the state determines it is best used. The Washington Post equates the state allowing people to keep what they earn the same as the state giving money to others. Somehow the government not taking earnings as the same as giving a special handout. The idea is that the state, not the laborer, investor, worker, retiree, has the right to all wealth, even savings, and the state not the individual determines who receives that wealth. Like I said, this is a sick idea, the idea that the Government not stealing your money is the same as the government giving you money.
A burglar comes into your home, and at the point of a gun, takes your TV, stereo, cash on hand, and other valuables. You file some paperwork with the burglar complaining that he took too much. After a few months he returns your TV. According to the Newspeak out of the Washington Post, this is the same as giving you a handout. Newspeak definiton, Not Stealing = Giving.